“Jews came to Chicago from virtually every country in Europe and the Middle East, but especially from Germany and Eastern Europe,” says the Encyclopedia of Chicago. Jews immigrated to the United States to escape poverty, discrimination, and hate crimes. To say some Jews didn’t have “fond memories” of their homelands is an understatement.
Chicago was incorporated in 1833; by 1933, Chicago Jews were only outnumbered by New York City and Warsaw, Poland Jewish populations. Early Jewish settlers included Henry Horner, an ancestor to the first Jewish mayor of Chicago.
Selling – peddling – as a profession enabled the Jewish settlers to quickly acquire language skills and led to many successful business ventures. Russian and Polish Jews from small, rural villages began immigrating to Chicago in large numbers circa 1870. By 1930, they numbered over 80% of Chicago’s Jewish community. They settled mainly in the westside and labored as artisans, factory workers, garment industry workers, peddlers, and merchants.
The first synagogue was Kehilath Anshe Mayriv (KAM), established in 1847 by German Jews. By 1852, disgruntled Polish Jews broke off and founded Kehilath B’nai Sholom, Chicago’s second congregation. In 1861, the Sinai Reform synagogue was established near the corner of LaSalle and Monroe streets. Other Chicago-area “firsts” include:
Your History, Your Legacy
The Jewish history is rich with inheritance metaphors; terms meaning “inheritance” are mentioned over 200 times in the Old Testament. “The Scriptures transform the concept of inheritance to include the acquisition of spiritual blessings and promises from God,” says Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary.
We often have instructions for what we leave behind. When you leave a legacy of love with a financial donation to Maot Chitim, those who benefit from your inheritance can pay those blessings forward, and your history begins. Learn more about leaving a legacy! When you contact us, we’ll explain some of the ways a legacy gift can be established (assets, cash, charitable trust/annuity, IRA funds, life insurance, will bequest).
All gourmets are foodies, but not all foodies are gourmets. A Jewish foodie might be someone who prefers cane sugar-sweetened Coca-Cola year-round, not just at Passover. You can taste the difference.
Foodies who live in the Chicago area are fortunate – we have plenty of excellent restaurant choices for kosher food! The only problem is defining “the best” eateries because your taste buds and others’ taste buds may have different preferences. So, if you haven’t already, check out some of these terrific Chicago restaurants serving kosher foods:
If you’re a foodie and have some unique kosher recipes or restaurant recommendations, let us know!
And remember, there’s a difference between the pleasure of foods and the necessity for foods that enable us to worship as our ancestors decreed. This historical connection of specific foods for certain religious observances is important to all of us. If you can help with our purchases, packing, and delivery of kosher foods, contact Maot Chithim of Greater Chicago and ask us what we need the most at this time.